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Daniel Day Lewis: Sporting A Beard Inspired By The Original Bear


A facial hair expert weighs in on Lewis' 'Lincoln' locks

It could be a watershed moment in the history of facial hair. Search engines worldwide went into overdrive this week as photos of Daniel Day Lewis surfaced sporting a new breed of beard for his title role in Steven Spielberg's upcoming Lincoln.

Sure, Lewis was in his everyday dad wear having lunch at a cafe in Virginia, not, as one might hope, dressed up in his Civil War finest munching on hardtack and shooting knowing glances at Joshua Speed, but it was still a pretty big deal.

By that we mean the beard. It's kind of amazing. And seeing as beards are having one helluva time at the top of the men's trends lists this year, we thought we'd talk to a modern beard expert about what Lincoln had going on back in the day, and how today's gentleman may craft his own.

We spoke to Buck Dutton, a facial hair expert from The Art of Shaving, about just what made Abraham Lincoln our first bear president.

What does a guy have to do to get a beard like Lewis, or, well, Lincoln?
There's nothing on the market that'll make your hair grow faster, so you've got to let it grow. You still need to maintain the beard growth, though. Lincoln did shave in certain areas. He did not connect his sideburns--he had more of what they call a chinstrap beard--and he shaved his moustache. So, there's still some grooming going on and I think precision tools are excellent for that. Get yourself a good beard trimmer, scissors, a little moustache razor. It's a precision razor that allows you to make those fine details and to make sure you have crisp lines.

I bet Lincoln didn't wash his beard. Does that mean I shouldn't either?
I don't know if Lincoln did, but I would definitely recommend modern day guys to wash their beard everyday.

What do you think his regimen was?
Lincoln probably was using a straight razor to get the lines and once he got on up in his career he probably had someone else using the straight razor on him. It's a great tool. Lincoln probably had his taken care of by a professional, which is always a nice little treat.

Were beards as big of a must-have in Lincoln's time as they are now?
I think a lot of guys had beards in that day because it was just easier to have a beard than to shave, because shaving was such a chore. They didn't have the fancy disposable blades that we have now. With that said, a lot of upper class people in those times shaved to show a symbol of wealth, because they could afford to go to the barbershops on a regular basis and shave. I think Lincoln probably kept his beard to keep him connected to the people.

What kind of comeback power does the Lincoln Beard have in 2011?
The Lincoln Beard is not too popular. Facial hair is having a little bit of a surge right now, and we always welcome that at The Art of Shaving, because you still have to maintain it. I think the Lincoln Beard is kind of extreme--there's a lot of hair growth there. In the modern day, unless you're at home working for yourself, this is probably not the look that most people are going for.

So you're not predicting a trend?
I don't think that the Lincoln Beard is going to be a phenomenon that we're going to be talking about 20 years from now.

Was Lincoln a bear, an otter or a wolf?
Lincoln is definitely an ultimate bear. I would say he is probably President of the Bear Club. That's the trend right there: Lincoln as the Original Bear.

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